Upon first learning that I would be reviewing a Rotel DVD player for this issue, I had difficulty believing it. Through all my years of writing in the consumer electronics industry, I had yet to experience firsthand what I "knew" of Rotel. All my understanding had come secondhand--from information that I'd heard and read about. This time around, I would be getting the backstage pass. I would experience for myself the essence of their award-winning engineering and excellence in soundstaging. This time around, Rotel's reputation was not going to supersede them. It would be up to my discerning eyes and ears.
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What I discovered over the next few days was that my eyes, ears and throat were all going to be affected by this one review--forever. Why my throat, you ask? Simply because I can't seem to shut up about it. Results on the RDV-1080 tests were all coming back, "Contagious, highly contagious." Here's how I came down with it.
Unique Features - Delving right in, the features of the Rotel are many. For starters, the RDV-1080 reads DVD-A, DVD-V, CD, and CD-V discs--the whole deal--via an advanced optical transport system, featuring a high precision "airtight" disc tray to shield the disc from exterior vibration. A segmented power supply feeds totally separated video, servo/DSP, and audio circuit boards (the audio board is further sub-divided so that each channel is isolated from the others). The latest LSIs (large scale integrated circuits) handle digital-to-analog conversions of even 24-bit audio data sampled at 192kHz. Jitter, a time-based inaccuracy that often degrades performance in less sophisticated designs, is virtually eliminated due to the RDV-1080's advanced D/A converters, fully shielded reclocking circuitry, and totally separate digital and analog power supplies. The RDV-1080 easily handles stereo PCM, Dolby Digital, DTS, and MPEG audio.
Playing my overworked Eagles Hell Freezes Over DVD, I was extremely pleased with how the RDV-1080 excels at delivering a musical image. The vocals were unbelievably full and harmonious coming through my reference B&K AVR307 receiver and Paradigm Phantom speakers. I continued listening for over two hours, unable to walk away.
When I finally opened my eyes, I decided that it was time to start writing. I placed my Dave Matthews Under the Table and Dreaming compact disc in just to get me going and then it hit me. "Ants Marching" gave way to my next scrutiny; that of viewing Flik and Dot in Disney's A Bug's Life.
Time to take some notes on the video front. The Rotel RDV-1080's RISC (reduced instruction set computer) IC is capable of 100 million instructions per second (MIPS) and controls a 10-bit video D/A converter operating at 54MHz. When "they" say that this assures the best picture quality, it's true. Broad-bandwidth video processing permits precise control of seven parameters including brightness, contrast, color saturation, and sharpness. I was half tempted to slap Hopper for bullying on all those little ants, when I realized ... it was just a movie (smile).
Complete with composite, S-Video, component, coaxial and Toslink outputs, the RDV-1080 boasts progressive scan capability to deliver the full potential of DVD to the most revealing direct view TV sets and large screen projectors. On my reference Fujitsu PDS-5002 50-inch Plasma HD Display, I couldn't wipe the sleep from my eyes enough times. Had I been dreaming? Brightness? Color? Sharpness? The Pixar animation was remarkably life-like.
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